Apeldoorn architect Herman (37) wants to save historic buildings around the city centre: ‘Give identity to the residential environment’

Herman van Essen (37) is an architect in Apeldoorn and is concerned about the condition of some historic buildings around the city center. We take a walk along three buildings that are now ‘an eyesore’, but which can be used to make pearls, says Herman. “You must ensure that all historic buildings without monument status are lost.”

We meet Herman van Essen near his home and office in Molenstraat-Centre. The architect is the son of Herman van Essen, owner of Van Essen Electronics, which has stood in a building further away for 44 years. “We are here in one of the oldest parts of Apeldoorn”, says the Apeldoorner. “And my family has a long history here. Behind it are old stables. My great-great-grandfather kept cows and pigs for his butcher shop.”

We have an agreement with Herman because he is concerned about the fate of some historic buildings around the city center, “which are threatened in their existence”, writes the architect in an email to the editors at indebuurt. He has already made restoration plans for two specific buildings. We are curious and take a walk along the ‘mutilated’ buildings of our choice.

Veldhuisstraat 52

We go around the corner, towards a largely boarded-up building at Veldhuisstraat 52. “This used to be a radio factory, owned by JT van Harmelen. He had his shop on the corner of the Molenstraat.” The former factory building has been owned by the municipality for several decades, says Herman. “I have been in contact with the municipality about the building, and they may want to demolish it. Whereas you could very well turn it into a beautiful distinctive house.”

Drag the bar over the image to see Herman’s design. More impressions can be found on his website.

We walk on Sophialaan and stop at the Talen factory. “The municipality wants to build a 21-storey residential tower – i.e. one and a half times the land registry – on the site of the car park. It’s a shame, because you’re taking away all the space for Talen’s beautiful office building. And the visual axis over Havenweg (to the pencil, ed.) also disappears. I would rather see a park appear here.”

So far, there are also major concerns about the large housing plans in this area, as an architect, but also as a local resident.

Sofia Square 2

We arrive at the ‘big white villa’ on the corner of Sophiaplein with Stationsstraat. “A thorn in the side”, says the architectural artist. “It is high time that something is done about this. This has previously been a brick villa with beautiful characterful features. There was a similar villa next door,” points out Herman (on the site where there is now an apartment complex, see photo, ed.), to the former Sophia Park, which has already been donated to the bus station.”

Herman in the white villa on the Stationsstraat. photo near Apeldoorn

We move on. The entire Stationsstraat and Kanaalstraat were filled with beautiful buildings from the 19th century. In that building,” the entrepreneur points to Chillerz at number 21, “more than a hundred years ago there was a café.”

Kanalgade 19-21

We arrive at Kanaalstraat, at a building built in 1879 (!). “A badly mutilated building. I have requested drawings. The oldest one is from 1924, which made it difficult to make a reconstruction. The building had a beautiful balcony with cast iron columns, a canopy – that is, a kind of lean-to – over the balcony and a ceiling (an elevation on top of the cornice of the facade, ed.).”

The adjacent building at number 23 dates from the same period, according to Herman. “The back yards of the buildings on this street were incredibly deep and ran all the way to the Griften, which was also a lovely clean stream at the time.”

Drag the bar over the image to see Herman’s design. More impressions can be found on his website.

As if there isn’t enough going on in the front, it’s also seriously wrong in the back. Illegal buildings have been built. It is a sad sight.

“This is the last piece of historic buildings on the Kanaalstraat,” says the architect. “That is why it is important that we make sure that it is not lost as well. The historic buildings give identity to the residential environment and tell the history of the place.”

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